Monday, June 17, 2013

seafood hor fun

Being Chinese, I love my noodles. I really don't think there is a single type of noodles that I do not like.

My favourite, favourite, FAVOURITE noodle, however, has to be Hor Fun (thick flat noodle made with rice flour).

I am not sure why I like hor fun so much. Maybe it is because hor fun has a great texture - it is so smooth, yet not as thin as kway teow  (thin flat rice noodle), so one actually gets to bite on something more substantial. Maybe it has to do with childhood memories - dinners with the extended family and seafood hor fun being served. Or maybe it is because hor fun is not as readily available as the other noodles. I have never seen it being sold in supermarkets. (Or did I not look hard enough?)

When I was still teaching, there were days when I would finish late and was too tired to cook dinner. On days like that, I would drop by my favourite tze char stall and ta bao (pack) a box of hor fun. I always had the intention to order something else but that never happened. The owner of the tze char stall would take one look at me and bellow "HOR FUN!!" to the kitchen staff.

The problem with cooking hor fun at home is that you cannot get the wok hei taste - "breath of the wok" - the aromatic slightly burnt taste achieved by cooking at high temperatures in a well-seasoned wok.

Well, unless you have those big woks and huge burners that they use at tze char stalls.

To make up for the lack of wok hei, I tossed the hor fun with dark soy sauce. In a heated wok, I fried minced garlic in a little vegetable oil until they turned slightly brown at the edges. Then I added the hor fun, which I had separated using by lightly tossing them with my hands.

I added the light and dark soy and white pepper, and tossed the noddles with a spatula. It is worth the effort of tossing the noodles so that every strand gets coated with the sauces.

Once that was done, the hor fun was transferred to a bowl and set aside.

In the same wok (no need to wash), I added a little more oil, and fried more minced garlic. Then I poured the stock and water into the wok and let it come to a boil.

Next I cut my ingredients. Here, I used cai xin, fish cake, sliced pork and prawns. They were all (except the fish cake, which is already cooked) blanched in the boiling stock until cooked and set aside.

Once everything was cooked, I added the potato starch slurry to the stock to thicken it. Here, I also tasted and adjusted the seasoning.

Then the heat was turned off and I poured the egg white in a circular manner into the stock, waiting a minute or so before stirring.

After that, it a matter of assembly - the same as what I did in the Crispy Noodles recipe.

The hor fun was placed in a bowl, and the vegetables and fish cake were placed on top.

Then I added the pork and prawns, as well as fried shallots and lardon.

And the hot gravy was added just before the dish was served.

Seafood Hor Fun (Serves 4)

1kg hor fun or kway teow
300g green leafy vegetable - I used cai xin, cut, washed and drained
300g sliced pork
1 fish cake, sliced thinly
12 large prawns, shells removed and deveined
4 egg whites (or 3 whole eggs)
2 litre chicken/vegetable stock
1 litre water
4 tbs potato starch mixed with 4 tbs water (more if you want a thicker gravy)
2 tbs light soy sauce (more if required),
3 tbs dark soy sauce (more if required)
3 tbs vegetable oil, divided
3 tbs garlic, divided
1 tsp ground white pepper
Fried shallots (optional)
Fried lardon (optional)

Marinate for pork:
1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp shao xing wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp white pepper

1. Separate hor fun by lightly tossing with hands. In a heated wok, add some oil and fry half the minced garlic.
2. Add hor fun, light and dark soy sauces. Toss hor fun until they are well coated with the sauces.
3. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
4. On the same wok, add a little oil and fry the remaining minced garlic. Add stock and water. Bring to boil.
5. Blanch vegetables, prawns and pork. Set aside.
6. Add potato starch slurry to thicken the stock. Adjust seasoning with salt and ground pepper.
7. Turn off heat. Add egg whites in a circular manner. Wait a minute or so before stirring.
8. Assemble hor fun and ingredients.
9. Ladle hot gravy and serve, garnished with fried shallots and lardon if desired.

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